Friday, 20 April 2007

Bellbirds

The tinkle of bellbirds is one of the most delightful and loved bird calls of the Australian forest. In the mountains I typically hear the tremolo of notes coming up from deep in the valley when I am standing at the cliff top. As such, I have never seen a bellbird until this week.

On the walk to Knapsack Viaduct, hearing the familiar tink-tink of bellbirds, I realized they were in the trees above me. So I stood quietly, watched, listened and made some interesting discoveries.

Discovery 1: The bellbirds don’t go tink-tink-tink-tink. One bird goes tink. And then another goes tink. And another. Until there is whole carillion of continuous tinkling.

Discovery 2: Folklore says the bellbirds are more often heard than seen, which I took to mean it was a nondescript ‘little brown bird’. What a surprise to find the tinks coming from an olive green bird, with a colourful orange beak, legs and eye patch.

And what a delight to actually get a photograph.



Photo: Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys)
You can listen to the tinkling chorus at the Birds in BackYard website.

Words to walk with:
Today’s words simply must be from Bellbirds by Henry Kendall, the signature poem of this blog.
"By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,
And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling:
It lives in the mountain where moss and the sedges
Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges.
Through breaks of the cedar and sycamore bowers
Struggles the light that is love to the flowers;
And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing,
The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing. "

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